Original Research

Gothic landscape, memory and food: A reading of Valerio Varesi’s The Dark Valley

Allyson Kreuiter
Literator | Vol 38, No 1 | a1371 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v38i1.1371 | © 2017 Allyson Kreuiter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 November 2016 | Published: 31 August 2017

About the author(s)

Allyson Kreuiter, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


What is known as Mediterranean Noir has crimes that occur in a landscape set under the azure skies and seashores of cities such as Marseille, Barcelona or even Venice. In contrast, Italian writer, Valerio Varesi, relocates his crime novels to the more rural landscapes of villages in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. In these places, it is the landscape of mist, rivers and mountains that creates the noir Gothic narrative and atmosphere surrounding the crimes committed. My article will examine how, in Varesi’s The Dark Valley, a subtle fusing of the devices of landscape, food and a Gothic disruption of the return of the past into the present are central to the story world of the novel. This dislocation between past and present, I contend, will lead to Varesi’s detective, Commissario Soneri, questioning his own identity.


Varesi; landscape; Gothic; food; Italian crime; uncanny; return of the repressed


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